The nature of environmental and natural resource security has changed dramatically since the 1990s. Over the last two decades, the global economy, geared towards exploiting natural resources to serve an exponentially growing population of consumers, has far exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet. The depth of the transformation has been so profound that it has pushed Earth into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Indeed, scientists have identified planetary boundaries that it would be unwise to transgress, and we seem to be in the process of crossing many of them right now.
Over the past few years, the world economy has also been quietly undergoing a further, high-speed transformation driven by the fusion of digital, material science and biological innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The World Economic Forum has highlighted this transformational pathway as the fundamental shift that is driving the global economy today. How it will incorporate the value of ecosystems and the interconnectedness of human and natural processes will determine whether the global economy manages to reconcile itself with the planet’s finite resources or whether we will simply accelerate its impacts. Read more